Bhutan is often painted (much like Tibet) as a kind of Buddhist utopia where everyone prays and is really happy. I mean ,they even measure Gross Domestic Happiness right? Well, the situation on the ground is a bit different. Introducing the Bhutan Communist Party (Marxist–Leninist–Maoist).
Maoists in Nepal and India
Ironically, considering how prickly relations were during the cold war (and today) between China and India and its vassal states, China did a top notch job of exporting the ideology of Maoism.
In India, there is still the Naaxalite Insurgency, whilst in Nepal Prachanda and his band of rebels not only got rid of the King but have on/off governed the country. Some might argue that they have sold out a bit, but most importantly they still are around.
Bhutan dirty little secret, their Nepalese minority
For various reasons there ended up being a number of Nepalese refugees, or Nepali-Bhutanese living in Bhutan. Most of them were forcibly removed to refugee camps in Eastern Nepal, whilst the ones that stayed in Bhutan suffered serious repression, even having their citizenship’s revoked. Stuff like this tends to quell dissent and it was through this that the Bhutan Communist Party (Marxist–Leninist–Maoist) was to put life in 2003 by the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist). As you might assume they had more than a little bit of an interest in this project…
Bhutanese civil war?
The strength and operations of the Bhutanese communists largely reflected what was going in in Nepal, itself in a protracted civil war to get rid of its monarchy. As a party, that wanted to other throw the monarchy and repatriate the displaced Nepalese. The party was immediately banned in Bhutan.
Nepal becomes a republic
In 2006, Nepal started the process of becoming a republic from an absolute monarchy. In many ways, this may have influenced the Bhutanese monarchy which, in 2006, announced a transition to become a constitutional monarchy. By 2008, Nepal was officially not only a republic, but also ruled by the Maoists.
Ironically getting to power stopped much of the support the Bhutanese communists received from their comrades in Nepal.
Bhutan Communist Party (Marxist–Leninist–Maoist) Today?
Well, they still exist, still believe in People’s War and are still banned, but with a fighting force of less than 1000, they are hardly setting the world’s revolutionary scene alight.
And as for Gross National Happiness, the Nepalese of Bhutan denied a citizenship do not have much of that..